Along with other varanid lizards, such as the Komodo dragon and the lace monitor, megalania belongs to the proposed clade Toxicofera, which contains all known reptile clades possessing toxin-secreting oral glands, as well as their close, non-venomous relatives, including Iguania, Anguimorpha, and Serpentes.
Closely related varanids use a potent venom found in glands inside the jaw.
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Owen introduced the genus Megalania to accommodate the species Megalania prisca.
Its status as a valid genus remains controversial, with many authors preferring to consider it a junior synonym of Varanus, The genus Megalania is included as a synonym of Varanus by many researchers due to the relationships of the many Varanus species; M.
determined a range of potential sizes for megalania, made by scaling up from dorsal vertebrae, after he determined a relationship between dorsal vertebrae width and total body length.
If it had a long thin tail like the lace monitor (Varanus varius), then it would have reached a length of 7.9 metres (26 ft), while if its tail-to-body proportions were more similar to that of the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), then a length of around 7 m (23 ft) is more likely.